The game could have bustled on and on. It could have ended in many ways, but neither team was willing to square it off. The Lions' emerging manager Paul Lambert is certainly not to be underestimated. Sir Alex Ferguson himself said in a recent interview that Lambert has much potential and has already done a great job despite the difficulties in working with so many new players. Yet Fergie also questioned whether or not "managers changing has a big effect on the playing standards of the team". Though Villa played a speedy game today, the Devils' gaffer has a point, especially when you think who the Lions were up against. United have often been called the comeback kings, and that's in no way an overstatement. Villa's shaky defense led to plenty of opportunities, though many went unused or worse yet, completely unexplored. Villa wasn't putting that much pressure on the guests, and the game was pretty much level as it approached the halftime mark. It was anyone's game and goal; today just happened to be Austrian forward Andreas Weimann's time to put an end to his goalless streak. Coming out of scoreless ruts seems to be a theme this season, and not just in the EPL - earlier today Dynamo Moscow's Kevin Kuranyi scored a double for the first time in months in the Russian Premier League. Weimann, who hasn't scored since April, received a great pass from Benteke. The latter tactfully outplayed Smalling to deliver the ball, providing for a brilliant one-touch finish that flew past De Gea "like a bullet from a gun", according to the commentator. Neither Benteke nor United's van Persie saw the ball as often as they wanted to. The former was given a few deliveries from the right, one of them from Weimann, but was unable to reach them. Van Persie, meanwhile, didn't really come into play until much later in the second half.
|Chicharito and Antonio Valencia celebrate. Source: jdotcherry|
No sooner had predictions been made about United's getting back into the game than the Lions pulled out a second goal, with Weimann completing his double. Patrice Evra was not having a great game, and his offside claim did not exactly help defend the ball. Agbonlahor's pass flew right tot he far post, leaving Weimann with the rather simple task of running up to the net for the finish. But Sir Alex's confidence in his players has always been key, and has never failed the Reds. The gaffer has asserted that RVP, Rooney, and Hernandez can all get 20 goals in this season. His brilliant choice of bringing on Chicharito for Ashley Young right before the second half payed off tremenduously. The Little Pea took up a great long ball from Paul Scholes, nutmegging Brad Guzan and scoring his 5th goal in 6 games. Hernandez's influence on the match was incomparable even to the likes of RVP and Rooney - as the commentator pointed out, Chicharito pulled defenders in deeper, something that neither of his teammates were doing. A great cross from Rafael to the left gave the Little Pea another goal, but the deflection off of Villa vice-captain Ron Vlaar made it an own goal. Wayne Rooney made up for his rather easy shot to Guzan earlier in the first half by testing the keeper with a sharper touch on the ball, but the American was well-positioned for the save. David De Gea wasn't tested too often by the Villa players, but he helped deny Weimann his hat-trick after Bannan's great delivery from the left flank. The home team was back on the attack after United's equalizer, but lost the ball to the Reds. Smalling prevented Benteke from having an impact on the score, converting the ball to a corner. Both Rooney and RVP had some wide shots, but the former Arsenal star got closer to the net than his teammate, hitting the frame twice in just a minute. Rooney's foot injury prevented him from playing fully out, but regardless, the forward had tried his best today. Meanwhile, Aston Villa tried to keep possession and eke out the 3 points they so desperately need. Stevens did a great job for the Lions, preventing United from going forward and stopping Rafael earlier. However, neither his or his teammates' efforts were enough to prevent United's set piece mastery. RVP's free kick delivery into the box ended in a low header by Hernandez. The home team's terrible defending meant the Lions wouldn't be getting any points at Villa Park, and Manchester United would prevail once more. De Gea was far more assertive today, punching the ball out twice during the last minutes. The Spaniard knows that a game isn't over until the final whistle.
|The teams observe a moment of silence in light of tomorrow's Remembrance Day. Source: spainchesterunited|
Barclays Premier League - 11th Matchweek
Saturday, November 10, 2012, 12:30 PM EST
Aston Villa vs. Manchester United - 2:3 (1:0)
Arena: Villa Park (Birmingham)
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
1:0 Andreas Weimann (Asst. Christian Benteke) (45+1')
2:0 Andreas Weimann (Asst. Gabriel Agbonlahor) (50')
2:1 Javier Hernandez (Asst. Paul Scholes) (58')
2:2 Ron Vlaar (Own Goal) (Asst. Javier Hernandez) (63')
2:3 Javier Hernandez (Asst. Robin van Persie) (87')